Sitting on the second floor of Wold Center reminds me how much I love it here at Union. The constant rush of students below, the pulsing life force of this school, it makes me feel at home in ways that finals week stresses made me forget. But now, with the beginning of the term upon us, I can’t help but feel excited to immerse myself in my classes and spend time with my friends.
The feeling of home is knowing that there are people who care about your existence and that there is a place where you are welcome. I’ve always associated this feeling with my childhood home in Massachusetts, but now I see that it can apply to multiple places, worlds apart.
There are the things that people bring up about my trip to Thailand this past winter break: the fact that I rode an elephant, the questions about the weirdest food I ate and the general interest in the weather conditions and places I visited. I’m more than happy to talk about these things.
But when I remember Thailand, I think mostly about the people. Never have I felt so welcome, so accepted and so unconditionally loved by strangers as by my host family in Thailand.
By the end of my stay, I had become one of the family. In addition to doing my laundry, my host family became so familiar with me as to give me advice on topics like my acne and my college friendships. My host sister even invited me to be her bridesmaid next year.
I didn’t think that I would ever feel as at home again at a place besides my permanent home — that is, until I came back to Union.
I felt it was a chore and an imposition, as well as a temporary block on my happiness, to move back to Union my freshman year. But now, as a junior, I am happy to return to my Union family and overjoyed to call this school, home. It is a blessing to study in a community like this.
So, here’s to another great term at Union with all the people that make this a wonderful campus on which we learn and grow.